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DEPARTURE TIME: 7:15AM (Arrive 10 mins before)
DEPARTURE LOCATION: Molly Malone Statue on Suffolk Street - MAP HERE
AILWEE CAVES * POUL NA BRONE TOMB * CORCOMEROE ABBEY * CLIFFS OF MOHER
For this tour we convene at the Molly Malone statue on Andrew Street, opposite O'Neill's pub. We then leave Dublin through its western suburbs as we take the M4 /M6 route to go directly across the island towards the Atlantic seaboard – a sharp contrast with the east coast and the Irish Sea. We will be covering the mediaeval and historic Caherconnell Fort. After this we will cover the late 12th century Corcomroe Abbey, established by the Cistercians whose entry into Ireland was facilitated by the Anglo-Norman invaders. This splendid strucure is a real treasure, featuring early original Gothic architecture. It is set high in the north end of the Burren geological landscape and constructed using the abundant local limestone.
11:15am AILWEE CAVES
The Burren limestone Karst landscape is almost unique on Planet Earth and it forms a large part of Co. Clare. Its origins lie in volcanic activity under the ocean tens of millions of years ago. It is a landscape undermined with many caves and underground river systems, most of which are not completely charted or mapped. Pot-holing is a big (and possibly dangerous) adventure pursuit in this region where people explore the underground. The Ailwee Caves are thoroughly explored, safe and open to visitors. We take a guided tour of these caves, the most extensive of the various accessible cave systems in Ireland. You'll see stalagmites and stalagtites and be awed by its sheer beauty.
12:10pm POULNABRONE DOLMEN
Here we come to an ancient burial tomb, older than the Egyptian Pyramids! Archaeologically dated to approximately 3500BC, the dolmen is a preserved national heritage monument. When excavated in 1986 they uncovered the remains of 15 humans and several artefacts of great interest. This a truly pre-historic place as it is based in an era previous to the idea of keeping records. Therefore the information gathered and inferences drawn from it are the work of esteemed archaeologists.
12:50pm LUNCH IN DOOLIN (not included)
We head straight for a pub lunch at Fitzpatrick's in Doolin, a village on the Wild Atlantic coastline, much favoured by the Surfer dudes because of the enormous waves which regularly batter the coast here. Fitzpatrick's is especially noted for its seafood but there are other tasty non-seafood items on the menu as well.
3:15pm CLIFFS OF MOHER – Cliff top walk
Now we visit this truly breath-taking cliff experience. These are the highest cliffs in Europe. There is a lovely visitor centre here with restaurants, many bathrooms, a “Cliffs Experience” museum exhibition and a brilliant short cinematic presentation - sit down for this, so you will not be dizzy! The centre is in the midway point of this cliffs area, so you have a a 4km cliff top walk to the north and another 4km walk to the south. A really fantastic experience.
7:45pm ARRIVE IN DUBLIN
We traverse Ireland again as we return to Dublin and the east coast. En route you can review your captured images of this adventure on Ireland's Atlantic coast, once the edge of the known world.